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Experienced Nelson takes reins at Rogue Valley Chorale

The Rogue Valley Chorale Association welcomed incoming Executive Director Brad Nelson on Jan. 1, succeeding Laura Rich. Nelson comes to the chorale with more than two decades of arts management experience.

Nelson has held titles of production manager, lighting designer, tour manager, production stage manager and numerous others. As a venue production manager and lighting designer in Southern Oregon, he worked with local and national tours, including Whoopi Goldberg and Craig Ferguson, Lyle Lovett and Oregon’s own Pink Martini.

In addition to working locally, Nelson has toured with several groups and continues to consult with shows across the country. He sits on the Live Events Industry of Oregon board of directors, which brings together professionals in Oregon’s live event industry to share ideas and advocate for the health and economic survival of live entertainment organizations.

Nelson has worked alongside the Rogue Valley Chorale since 1997 and has been instrumental in assuring the success of its performances, the group stated in a press release.

“The Board and singers of the Chorale are thrilled that Brad is joining our organization. Laura Rich’s tenure as executive director is a hard act to follow, but Brad is highly qualified and we have no doubt his creativity and skill set will ensure success,” says Chorale Association board president Donna Barrett stated.

An avid performer as a child, the theater bug took hold of Nelson and never let go, he stated in the release. Moving from performing to technical theater and design in college, Nelson said he enjoys being able to create, entertain and satisfy the need for arts entertainment enrichment for audiences near and far.

“From recession to the current pandemic, the fine arts guide the soul allowing us all to weather each and every storm,” he stated.

Rich, after deep involvement with the organization as a board and staff member, retired at the end of 2020. She has had a long career in the arts as a singer, actor and dancer, as well as an arts administrator. She will remain involved with the Chorale Association as a singer and dedicated volunteer, the release stated.

“I have loved every moment of my time as a board member and as executive director for the Chorale Association. I am thrilled to hand the reins over to Brad Nelson, who already loves this treasured organization,” Rich stated in the release.

Nelson’s enthusiasm for the arts has helped shape and guide each company with which he has worked, the Chorale Association stated, and he said he looks forward to building a strong future for the association.

The Rogue Valley Chorale Association was founded by Lynn and Doris Sjolund and a group of founding members in 1973 with the goal of provide a forum for singers to perform fine choral music. The organization has since grown to include four choruses ranging in age from 8 to well over 80. The Chorale is a Collier Center Arts Partner and performs on its Craterian Stage multiple times annually.

To learn more about the Rogue Valley Chorale Association, visit roguevalleychorale.org.

Members of the Rogue Valley Chorale peform under social distancing protocols at Hanley Farm for the group’s “Holiday Faire” special broadcast, which is availabvle to view at roguevalleychorale.org. Photo by Michael D. Davis
Brad Nelson became executive director of the Rogue Valley Chorale Association on Jan. 1. Photo by Tim Tidball.